All over the world, sport is fast becoming a significant contributor to tourism and, consequently, to economic development. Here at home, the Kenya Open has played a substantial role in promoting Kenya — and Africa — as a global golfing and sports tourism destination.
As the Kenya Open graduates from the European Challenge Tour to join the Elite European Tour this year, it places Kenya firmly on the global map as a world-class sporting destination.
Over the past nine years, Barclays Bank of Kenya has worked hand-in-hand with Kenya Open Golf Limited to grow the profile and stature of the tournament — and we are now seeing the fruits of those efforts. Through our parent company, Absa Group, we have recently made a commitment to invest a further Sh220 million in the Kenya Open, arguably the biggest sponsorship deal from the private sector in the 51-year history of the tournament.
The entry of Absa into this year’s tournament comes at an important time for Barclays Bank of Kenya. Over the past months, we have been communicating our transition towards our new Absa brand in Kenya.
This transition presents us as part of the Absa Group with a unique and yet exciting opportunity to leverage our rich Kenyan heritage and deep understanding of the market to drive initiatives that can unlock Kenya’s potential and support its accelerated growth.
The increase in prize money (€500,000 to €1.1 million) means that the Kenya Open is now one of the biggest sporting events in sub-Saharan Africa set to attract an increased number of visitors coming to Nairobi for the tournament.
According to a report by the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, our national tourism earnings rose to Sh157 billion last year as a result of a more than 37 per cent growth in tourist arrivals from the previous year, crossing the two million visitor mark for the first time.
With the Kenya Open broadcast nationally and across the world on international channels, reaching over 500 million homes, we have an opportunity to surpass those figures as we showcase Kenya to potential visitors through the lens of this premier tournament.
The value of sport to local communities extends beyond just ‘sport for sport’s sake’.
Of the total investment, Sh150 million will be directly injected into the tournament.
— Jeremy Awori is the Managing Director of Barclays Bank of Kenya Limited